I’ve written a few of these posts as of late, discussing the possibility of going back to grad school. I’m not completely certain how I came about this decision. It was only a few weeks ago when I started looking one more time, yet again and again, circumstances and resources just kept falling into place, making me ask the question, “Why don’t you go back?” or “What’s stopping you from going?”
Even with this recent turn of events, it will still work into my Unschooled Master of Theology program, actually quite perfectly.
So, lets talk updates on going back to grad school and see where we’re at…
All Is Dire..Or…Was Dire
So I got the initial results from an unofficial examination of my previous graduate credits from NationsU and APUS that did not turn out very well. But, for whatever reason, Liberty used the PhD program to assess the credits and not the MA program. So, I pulled the trigger and applied anyway. The worst it would cost me is less than $100 all in and some aggravation. This way they would do an official evaluation of my official transcripts for the right program.
Well, needless to say, the results were a little bit better but not by much.
After the two schools above drug their feet for well over a week on sending electronic transcripts (how hard is it to hit a button on an email?), Liberty got everything they needed and I was accepted into the MA in History program. They accepted the three courses from NationsU without issue, but only one course from APU was accepted. That meant I would need to take 8 courses instead of 6 to finish the degree. This bumped the total tuition cost to $7000. That’s still incredibly cheap, but it’s not $5000. But, I was still stuck, waiting on another approval anyway.
DD214 NOT Accepted
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had only one copy of my DD214. It is apparently called a privacy copy which blacks out the nature of your discharge at the bottom. Not sure why this would be desired, unless your discharge was anything other than honorable and this helps keep stigma away. Though, if it’s other than honorable, how would the DD214 help in the first place?
Long story short, my DD214 was rejected by Liberty stating they needed the copy that proved honorable discharge. So, I applied to get one at the National Archives. Their request was free (which is nice), but it says right on the form, don’t bother checking for at least 90 days and with Covid crap happening, there is no telling when they will be able to get the document back to me! Lovely! So I go to DD214 Direct and place an order that advertises quicker response and turn around time. $80 later, I now have two requests for my DD214 in with no one saying if either one will be honored since there’s no way of knowing if the government agencies are open or will ever reopen.
If I don’t get the military discount at Liberty I cannot afford to attend. Maybe I could eek out the tuition, but it would be difficult. Plus, there is no reason to do so.
Needless to say, I was very frustrated! But, hey, maybe that’s a sign that I should not return to grad school after all, right? Maybe I should just stick with my uThM and be happy. Well, then this happened….
And Then an Invitation
While waiting for all this rigmarole to work itself out, I receive an email from my old seminary, NationsU. I had attended that school back in 2010, 2011, working on an MDiv degree. I can’t even remember why I was doing it!
At the time, the school was free. You paid $100 fee and that was it. During that year, I ended up racking up 33 credits with them, but that’s only half that is needed with the MDiv, plus there was all this drama about the capstone project where you have to find three people in the community to serve as faculty to read your thesis….bla..bla..bla.
So, I get this email one morning from the Registrar’s office at NationsU. She wanted to confirm that I would like an official transcript sent, plus, she invited me back to NationsU. She stated, since I had 33 credits already completed, I could switch over to the Master of Theology degree and I would be nearly done.
Plus, the school was now nationally accredited!
I double checked with Liberty and their PhD program does allow Master degrees from nationally accredited schools! Then it dawned on me. I could finish my work at NationsU for $450 (tuition now per 3 month term), then transfer to Liberty into their PhD in Bible Exposition program, skipping the history MA altogether.
But, wait. The MA would only be nationally accredited. Not regionally. That would block me from working at regionally accredited schools, right? I don’t think so. Here’s my rationale.
If I get the MTS from NationsU, then a PhD from Liberty, while simultaneously collecting block credits in subjects I want to teach in (while pursuing the PhD), I could walk away able to teach at any regionally accredited school (because of the PhD and because of the block credits in other subjects – all regionally accredited). I would only need 3 more history courses from Liberty and all my credits would qualify for having 18 graduate credits to teach. Having a PhD should also open doors for positions not available to me with just an MA and especially with an MA from a nationally accredited school rather than regionally.
Since I want to teach at a bible college or seminary in the future, there is a greater chance that I would qualify with just the MTS from NationsU. The standards may not be that stringent.
All of this would cost $11,000 for the PhD and then another $11,000 for 3 block grad credit subjects, which I hope would be History, Marketing, and possibly Criminal Justice (not sure on this one). Total of $22,000 for an MA in Theology, PhD in Bible Exposition, and block credits in History, Marketing, (another subject), and eventually I would like to get block credits in Philosophy.
With this kind of CV, I should be able to land a job at any Church, Para-Church Org (not that I would want to do either), or any community college or seminary (online preferred).
I only need to teach four courses a year to pay for my lifestyle. On top of that, I could start my own non-profit, teach and write and use the non-profit to write off travel expenses to conferences, etc.
Though, I’m personally not interested in anything like that. I don’t want to work for a church. I really don’t want to move, unless it’s to sell my house and property and move into a van. Honestly, I simply want to study, conduct research on questions that are tugging at me (angels, soul, consciousness, etc), and enjoy my time as a student. At the other end of that, if God wants me in a particular position, then so be it.
In addition to the minimal cost, the PhD program has a block tuition rate. So, if I took two courses per term (one course for PhD, and one course for block subject matter) my tuition goes down to $230 / credit. This is cheaper than the original $275 / credit provided by the Military Discount, which, with this new plan, I don’t even need!
So, I’ve officially started my studies back at NationsU. I don’t know what to make of all this, to be honest. Everything is lining up, and my studies are going well. I’ve so far passed two exams with good grades, got an A on one essay and should get the same on another. The first course I’ve pretty much already passed (update since I first wrote this, I got an A on all papers that were left to be graded, so I now have an A in the class, but the next class I have is New Testament Environment and it’s kicking my butt, I just failed my first test and I can only take it two more times – it would be terrible if I’m not able to graduate because of one course, I really do hate these kinds of courses, it’s so much material and so many foreign names, I can’t keep it all straight!) There are just two more courses left before I can get my MA in Theology. I should be finished with the work in a month or so, and I’ll graduate in December, which means January I will be applying for the PhD program at Liberty (finger’s crossed).
So, that’s basically it in a nutshell. I will say I much prefer the more relaxed pace of my uThM program, but getting an MA has been something I’ve wanted since I got out of the military and a PhD would be a dream come true.
Even if they don’t help me find a job anywhere, what else should I do with the extra money I have each month? Go to the casino? Buy lottery tickets? Start drinking?
There’s a good chance a degree from Liberty will be a joke to regionally accredited community colleges (target schools), but I doubt it would be to church organizations or Christian colleges. All it takes is one school to land a good job, and what I consider a good job is (if not online) 1. Providing me $6000 / year for expenses, 2. A small room w/ private bathroom to live in would be wonderful, 3. Health Insurance. But my goal, if it be God’s will (James 4:15), would be to land an Associate Professor job in Texas or down south somewhere or Alaska or Hawaii (actually anywhere is fine as far as that goes) that has a really nice campus where I can live in student housing or a small studio apartment right off campus. I could be a monk in Academia. Or, I could stay right here (already have health insurance) and just teach online, part-time, for a variety of schools, maybe a little tutoring, and even develop my own online philosophy and Theology school. I already own my house, I also have the Eden property to keep working on and enjoy. Or, if it’s God’s will, I can sell (really would like to give) everything away and just relocate somewhere else with the clothes on my back and the degrees in my pocket.
Or, he could just take me tonight and I won’t have to worry about any of it anymore. Either way, I’ll keep you posted.
Until my next update…
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Excerpt from The Light Aurora:
The door’s lock released and Dr. Lewis looked around at each of them.
“Stay close, and be ready for anything. I’m not sure if they’re all in the Command Center or if they are trying to secure Level 4. Hell, they could all be evacuating.”
He stared at Scott as he came up onto the landing.
“Let’s go,” Scott said.
Dr. Lewis pushed the door open and walked out into the hall, followed by the others – in ones and twos.
Level 2 was similar to the other level, with a long corridor, doors on either side, all with security displays recessed into the wall next to them.
But, as they entered the corridor, Scott’s breath caught in his throat.
As he stood there with the others, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
In front of them, probably no more than a few yards away, were three bodies lying on the floor. One was sitting up against the wall, the side of his face melted, exposing his right eyeball and a good portion of his right skull.
Another one was laying face down, his entire back opened up at the spine, as if his spinal cord had been ripped out of him from behind.
The last one was a few more feet away from the others, on his back, his eyes seared from his head, black, burnt flesh where his eyes used to be.
The intercom came back to crackling life.
Derrick said over the intercom.
“Don’t worry. You can answer,” he said. “I can hear you.”
Scott looked up, then fixed his gaze on the security camera at the end of the corridor.
“Yes?” Scott finally asked.
There was a pause, static.
“What are you doing, Derrick?” he asked. “Did you do this?”
“Indeed,” Derrick said, coming back on.
“They refused to help me.”
“What are you trying to do, Derrick?” Scott asked.
There was another pause.
“I want to go home, Professor,” the boy said.
“Yes,” Derrick said, his tone soaked with some other-worldly confidence that did not belong in an innocent, ten year old boy.
“I want to go home, Professor,” he said again. “Would you be interested in coming home with me?”
Buy the entire story The Light Aurora today and get ready for the thrill ride of a lifetime! What is this foreign and hostile place these strangers find themselves in? What does it all mean? Will all of them survive?
Click here and grab your copy today! All three books in one!
But, trust me when I say, reading this book will change your life forever.